Allan Takes Aim Blog

A serious political climate change

Posted on: 17 February 2010

First published The Chronicle Tuesday 9 February, 2009

With Tony Abbot as Opposition Leader will the banal exchanges that pass as debate in the federal parliament liven up? And will that extra liveliness be seen as Abbot leads the debate to reject the Government’s Emissions Trading Scheme Bill (for cynics the Extra Tax Slug)? And if the Bill is rejected for a third time will the PM call for a double dissolution? I doubt it. I think the PM will continue portraying Abbott’s new climate change policy as a bigger tax slug?

The ETS is based on recommendations in reports from the scientists of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that say the earth is doomed if humans continue on their current path. In a world more terrifying and dangerous than at any time in history their recommendations were accepted as true by most people principally because they lacked knowledge of climate change science. This pleased the IPCC because acceptance of its recommendations, even when inaccurate, gave it credibility.

But the IPCC is not the first group to make doomsday forecasts; religious groups have done so since time immemorial despite the fact that, time after time, their followers were the only ones to experience doom eg. Peoples Temple (the Jonestown group).

Indeed in some respects the IPCC has donned the mantle of a religious group, which, with its supporters, I will call “The Environmentalists.” Like religious groups, The Environmentalists has prophets. Two prominent examples: Al Gore, a former US Vice President and Sir Nicholas Stern, an eminent British Labour economist and Government adviser, whose 2006 Stern Review could be seen as The Environmentalists’ climate change and economic bible.

Gore and Stern also have something in common with previous doomsday prophets: they do not tolerate ideas other than their own and are blessed with absolute certainty about the rightness of their cause.

Unfortunately for the IPCC, it has since become clear that some reports lacked veracity as details had been doctored to suit preferred conclusions. This lack of veracity has led many previous IPCC supporters seriously interested in climate change, to agree with climate change sceptic Lord Christopher Monckton, eminent British mathematician who, like Sir Nicholas Stern, advised the highest level of British Government whose message is also different to that of Gore and Stern.

His message: global warming is not the cause of the doom forecast by the IPCC, it is the ill thought out policies of diversification into biofuels and other alternative energy sources. He is also adamant the ETS scheme will cost trillions of dollars that even rich economies like Australia cannot afford and, what is more his objections are based on scientific fact not doctored IPCC reports.

I have heard people dismiss Monckton by saying that because he’s a mathematician he would know little about global warming or climate change. Let me say the same could be said about Stern, an economist, and Gore a former politician now a businessman whose businesses are benefiting enormously from his Environmentalists role, a role that some people think a conflict of interest. And while Monckton might be a mathematician because he has done his homework his arguments are both eloquent and reasoned.

Like Lord Monckton and thousands of others, I have long been sceptical of the IPCC reports and written a number of columns about climate change. The following is an extract from my 14 Feb column 2007. “Long sceptical about statements of doom for Australia if the Government didn’t sign the Kyoto Protocol my scepticism increased after reading the “Summary for Policymakers” from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The increase was due to the prolific use of get out words and phrases such as ‘probably, very likely, is likely’ in the report. That the word ‘will’ is noticeable by its absence suggests the IPCC is having two bob each way.”

IPCC reports continue to be written in this vein. However, when asked to be more definite about their forecasts, they unlike Monckton, glibly say the science is settled. They also say the IPCC forecasts are based on the “precautionary principle,” which to many sceptics seems another way of saying: “we don’t know.” Well, if they don’t know then why should they be taken seriously?

The Chronicle for the best of Canberra’s community news. Published every Tuesday.


1 Response to "A serious political climate change"

Hello! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a team of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us useful information to work on. You have done a marvellous job!

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